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Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) ( sq|Gazsjellësi Trans-Adriatik, el|Διαδριατικός Αγωγός Φυσικού Αερίου - ''Diadriatikós Agogós Fysikoú Aeríou'', it|Gasdotto Trans-Adriatico) is a pipeline that transports natural gas from Azerbaijan at the Caspian Sea to Europe starting from Greece through Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy. It is a European section of the Southern Gas Corridor. The pipeline is supplied by natural gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz (Azerbaijan) gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP). As it is designed to enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project has been supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest". Construction of the pipeline started in 2016 and it became operational in 2020.


History


The Trans Adriatic Pipeline project was announced in 2003 by Swiss energy company EGL Group (now named Axpo). The feasibility study was concluded in March 2006. Two options were investigated: a northern route through Bulgaria, the North Macedonia and Albania, and a southern route through Greece and Albania, which finally was considered to be more feasible. In March 2007, the extended basic engineering for the pipeline was completed. Greece was opposed to having the route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline pass through Albania, as it would allow Albania to become the transmission hub for gas in the Western Balkans. On 13 February 2008, EGL Group and the Norwegian energy company Statoil signed an agreement to set up Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, a joint venture to develop, build and operate the pipeline. In June 2008, the company filed an application with the Greek authorities to build a section of the pipeline from Thessaloniki to the Greek-Albanian border. In January 2009, the TAP carried out a marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify the offshore route. A route assessment survey in Albania started in July 2009. In March 2009, an intergovernmental agreement between Italy and Albania on energy cooperation mentioned TAP as a project of common interest for both countries. In January 2010, TAP opened country offices in Greece, Albania and Italy. In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network. On 20 May 2010, it was announced that E.ON becomes a partner in the project. The deal was closed on 7 July 2010. In November 2010, TAP started a route refinement survey in northern Greece in preparation for the environmental impact assessment. On 7 September 2011, the company submitted an EU Third Party Access Exemption applications in all three host countries, which allows TAP AG to enter into long term ship-or-pay gas transportation agreements with the shippers of Shah Deniz II gas. The exemptions were granted on 16 May 2013. In February 2012, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was the first project to be pre-selected and to enter exclusive negotiations with the Shah Deniz Consortium. In August 2012, consortium partners BP, SOCAR and Total S.A. signed a funding agreement with TAP's shareholders, including an option to take up to 50% equity in the project. vOn 22 November 2012, the TAP consortium and Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline's partners signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperation framework between the two parties. On 28 September 2012, Albania, Greece and Italy confirmed their political support for the pipeline by signing a memorandum of understanding. In February 2013, Greece, Italy and Albania signed an intergovernmental agreement. In June 2013, the project was chosen as a route for gas from Shah Deniz II over the competing Nabucco West project. Later in 2013, BP, SOCAR, Total, and Fluxys became shareholders of the project. In September 2014, E.ON and Total sold their shares to Enagás and Fluxys. In December 2015, Snam joined TAP, acquiring Statoil's 20% interest in the project. Construction of the pipeline started on 16 May 2016. On 15 November 2020, the pipeline began commercial operations, and the first Azerbaijani gas was delivered to Italy on 30 December 2020.


Technical description


The pipeline starts at the Greece–Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it is connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It crosses Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and comes ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline is , of which in Greece, in Albania, in offshore, and in Italy. The offshore leg is laid at a maximum depth of . The initial capacity of the pipeline is of natural gas per year, of which is delivered to Italy, to Greece, and to Bulgaria. It will be expanded up to . It uses pipes for pressure of on the onshore section and pipes for pressure of on the offshore section. Total construction costs were about €4.5 billion. A third of it was spent for constructing the section within Albania. The Interconnector Greece–Bulgaria (IGB) is intended to connect Greece and Bulgaria.


Project company


Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG is a joint venture company registered in Baar, canton Zug, Switzerland, with a purpose of planning, developing and building the TAP pipeline. The Managing Director of the company is Luca Schieppati. Shareholders of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Snam (20%), Fluxys (19%), Enagás (16%) and Axpo (5%).


Protests


There have been incidents of protests by both local citizens and government officials against the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. In Italy the TAP requires construction of a gas terminal in a historical olive grove in the countryside near the Apulian town of Melendugno. The site presents some century-old olive trees which are to be explanted and transferred to an alternative location in an operation that cannot guarantee the trees' survival. This has been criticised by the local public as well as environmentalists, also in relation to a deadly parasitic disease (Xylella fastidiosa) that has been affecting olive groves in the region for years, and can spread to previously unaffected areas with tree relocation. Furthermore, the pipeline's landing point on the Italian coast is located under the pristine beach of San Foca, a popular destination for beachgoers. Locals and environmentalists have raised safety concerns regarding millions of cubic litres of compressed flammable gas being piped only 10 metres under a beach that will be kept open to the public during the summer months. Some government officials, such as multiple mayors from the area and the governor of the region of Apulia, also supported the environmentalists' opinion that the pipeline might cause more harm than good and could be an opportunity for local organised crime and corruption to infiltrate public tenders for construction work on the Italian side. They worry especially in relation to a taxpayer-funded 60-kilometre long interconnector which will have to be built to link the TAP's Italian terminal in Melendugno to Italy's national gas network near the industrial port of Brindisi. The Apulia Region governor Michele Emiliano told an Al Jazeera English crew in 2016 that he could not understand why an alternative landing point to San Foca beach, closer to the Brindisi industrial area, was not chosen in spite of lower costs, less severe environmental impact, and proximity to pre-existing gas infrastructure.


See also


* Interconnector Turkey–Greece–Italy * Burgas–Alexandroupoli pipeline * South Stream * Nabucco pipeline * Ionian Adriatic Pipeline * TANAP


References





External links


* {{Energy in Albania Category:Natural gas pipelines in Greece Category:Natural gas pipelines in Albania Category:Natural gas pipelines in Italy Category:Albania–Greece relations Category:Albania–Italy relations Category:Greece–Italy relations Category:Pipelines under the Mediterranean Sea Category:Adriatic Sea